pelvic-stabilisation-tipsWhen training your pre/postnatal clients in quadruped position (hands and knees/all fours), do you sometimes struggle getting them to keep their pelvis stable?

 

When you prompt them to ‘lift their right leg behind them’, do you find their pelvis automatically shifts over to the left to compensate?

 

Do you have to get ‘hands-on’ quite frequently to ‘hold’ their pelvis in place?

 

Often notice how their pelvis shifts to the right or the left, and no matter how many times you ‘coach’ and ‘cue’ them to NOT do this, it still happens?

 

I have a great little strategy to help you to get your clients to take ownership of their own pelvis!  Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

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I’ve welcomed over 1,000 pregnant and postnatal women into my pre/postnatal fitness and Pilates classes.

When I did my Level 3 Pre/Postnatal certificate (like a hundred years ago!) there really wasn’t a lot of emphasis on the exercise element of the qualification.

Yes, there were exercises demonstrated and listed in the written manual for sure.

I vividly remember walking away with a grand total of 3 safe abdominal exercises for pregnant women…

…and, the postnatal section of my instructor booklet consisted of 3 x A4 pages which consistenly stated ‘no adaptations / same as for pregnancy’ (can you believe it?!).

One observation was, there was certainly a lot more emphasis on learning the theory, than perfecting the practical and performing (which is sort of important for your confidence if nothing else, huh?).

I can remember spending hours putting a lesson plan together that ‘ticked all the boxes’ so to speak to pass the assessment, but when it came to the real wide world of teaching pre/postnatal – I really didn’t have a lot to go on.Postnatal-34-300x225

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll have noticed that there’s been a shift towards ‘functional’ training over the past few years.

Nothing new there.

So today I’m going to give you the tools to enable you to freshen up your standing exercises safely and effectively for your pre/postnatal clients.

Read More

I’ve been there and done it.periscope game apn exercise

 

I’ve worked with over 1,000 pregnant and postnatal women.

 

My knowledge and skills when it comes to setting exercise programs for this specialist population is sound.

 

If you’re struggling to come up with fresh, new exercises for your pre/postnatal classes or personal training sesions – I can help.

 

Do you have a question about a particular stretch, the number of reps you should be doing or how intense exercise should be for your mums-to-be?

 

I can help.pre group of clients

 

Join me LIVE on Periscope the morning of FRIDAY 24 JULY 2015 where I’ll answer your questions.

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When it comes to teaching pre and postnatal, and for me in particular Pilates instruction for these populations, I find things both simple and scary.

Why simple?

Well, once you know the limitations or boundaries of what’s safe and what’s not for the pre/postnatal client, it’s like there’s a simple line that you just don’t cross.

There are exercises you’ll feel comfortable teaching to your prenatal groups and other movements you’ll find are more appropriate for 1-2-1 situations.

Why scary?

Well, let me tell you a little story of one particular pregnancy Pilates course I instructed recently which had 12 participants booked on the 6-week course.

And, would you believe, 8 clients out of those 12 had these pre-existing injuries/issues:

  • Client 1 – knee surgery – preventing her from being on her hands and knees
  • Client 2 – pelvic girdle pain – affecting the SI joint (sacro-iliac joint)
  • Client 3 – pelvic girdle pain – affecting the pubis symphysis (pubic bone)
  • Client 4 – carpal tunnel syndrome – preventing her wrists to be in flexion
  • Client 5 – sciatica – resulting in shooting pains from the glutes down the back of each leg when seated for long periods and requiring crutches to walk even short distances
  • Client 6 – fourth grade placenta previa – requiring Doctor’s Consent before exercise
  • Client 7 – hypermobility – requiring modifications throughout and the client to wear wrist splints
  • Client 8 – suspected diastasis recti not rehabbed from previous pregnancy causing back pain and a significant lack of ‘core’ strength

As you can see – it was one tough session to teach, but, with a bit of tweaking here and there, I did actually manage it.

Please don’t let me put you off teaching pregnancy Pilates – I’m just giving you a window into my life as a Pre/Postnatal Fitness Expert who has the experience and know-how.

You can see from the list of injuries/medical conditions above, that it wasn’t an easy class to teach, but, I managed it.

Just.

There are some things you truly only learn from experience and dealing with pre-existing and pre/postnatal conditions is one of them.

So, what the heck did I manage to teach for a 6-week Pilates course to this seemingly ‘walking wounded’ set of pregnant clients?

Well, the first thing to do was analyse what EVERYONE present can do, and then start to make modifications around this.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Standing stuff (not surprisingly) was fine for all participants.
  • Seated (on floor) positions were suitable for everyone in attendance.
  • Side-lying exercises, keeping the range of movement smaller for those with PGP/sciatica was actually fairly simple to modify.
  • Seated (chair-based) exercise was fine for all, with precautions for the client suffering with sciatica, depending on how she was feeling ‘on the day’.
  • Hands and knees positions were possible for all but one client, so when instructed to step down to the floor, she sat on a chair instead and did arms or knee lift exercises. For those with wrist/PGP-type symptoms: 1) arm movements were given to those with PGP, and 2) knee lift movements prescribed for those with wrist problems and 3) wall press ups given to the lady who couldn’t kneel.

And, there you have it.

Not as hard as you think, eh?

All it takes is a bit of planning, preparation, and the realisation that standing work is not only more effective, but pretty much suitable for all pregnant clients.

You’ll notice only one client in the list had suspected diastasis recti (abdominal separation).

I’m happy to report that using my “7 Steps to Fixing Abdominal Separation” method I created myself, the exercise I did with her during pregnancy, really helped lessen her separation considerably AND give her a sense of core strength back.

If you’d like to specialise in abdominal separation rehab, you’ll be pleased to know my NEW ‘Diastasis Detective’ online instructor CPD program will be live again in 2018!

diastasis banner logo

Be one of the first to know when the new programme is launched by signing up to my VIP list

So, when it comes to working one-on-one with our pre/postnatal clients, I feel it’s important to highlight that some exercises are more appropriate in a 1-2-1 setting…

….and….some don’t really transfer tremendously well to a group exercise environment.

Ok, we’re all vastly aware that we need to do more and more standing, functional work with our pre and postnatal clients nowadays, and I’m pretty darn sure if you’ve been a follower of mine for a while, that you’ve taken this onboard over the past few years.

Pat yourself on your back because you’re simply awesome for challenging your pre/postnatal clients’ core muscles in a more upright position.

But, there are some considerations to bear in mind when it comes to exercise prescription with this specialist population.

And, today I’m focusing particularly on group exercise content versus 1-2-1.

Drawing on my many years of experience teaching pre/postnatal women (I think just last week I clocked up my 1,052nd attendee + baby – yay!), here’s my spin on things:

 

SPATIAL AWARENESS

Ever had a client not know their left from their right and thought: “Gosh, they’re a bit uncoordinated…” and all you were doing at the time was a Pilates-style warm up?

Yeah, it’s kind of embarrassing to watch, huh?

Sometimes my pre/postnatal classes are peppered with clients who are so totally unaware of where their limbs are, it’s simply unsafe for me to teach a particular exercise or movements in a group situation through fear of that said client harming themselves, their unborn baby or literally falling into the person next to them, taking out an entire row of pre/postnatal women as they hit the floor, dominoes-stylee.

So, having said that, I think you’d agree, doing exercises such as: complex, multi-planar functional work with this particular client in a group setting, would be slightly dangerous.

 

TECHNIQUE

It’s obviously your job as a group exercise instructor to correct your clients’ technique as and when you see fit and I’m certain you do this throughout your sessions.

I’m going to stick my head out on a block here and say: “Some people, know matter how fantastic you are as a teacher, on exercise execution, when pregnant or postnatal, are genuinely, categorically cr*p”.

Take the humble squat as a great example.

Ok yes, it’s an exercise we should be instructing, but if you see a client doing this movement so badly it makes your eyes bleed and no amount of cueing changes her technique, perhaps 1-2-1 training may be a better option for them, personally.

TIP: When I teach my Pilates classes, I always do a squat-type movement in the warm up/mobilisation section, so I can kind of see what I’m dealing with later on.

And, if someone squats in the warm up so poorly that a part of me dies watching it, I collar them on the way out the door and spend time with them running through the basics.

 

EXERCISE HISTORY (OR LACK THEREOF)

I think finally the message is getting through to a few prenatal women out there these days that exercise is indeed safe, and well – a necessary part of being pregnant.

But, boy oh boy, if they’d done just an ounce more exercise since leaving Secondary School, geez our lives as Pre/Postnatal Specialists would be a darn sight easier, huh?

I work my pre and postnatal clients to a moderate level of intensity in class – I want their work out to be worth their while at the end of the day.

But, it’s striking the amount of clients pre and postnatal, who just don’t do any exercise whatsoever and wonder why their legs and arms ache for 3 days after their first class with me.

Taking prior fitness history (or lack thereof) this into consideration – you’ve got to pitch the level of intensity appropriately in a class, or do exercises that are safe and effective for everyone in attendance, especially the uncoordinated ones.

TIP: Interval training is brilliant for pre/postnatal because everyone can work at their own pace, and although it’s a timed workout, everyone will do a different amount of reps, some will stop early, and others will continue until the beep sounds.

 

What are your thoughts?

I’m not saying for a moment that you should stop doing functional training with your clients…

because there are plenty of safe alternatives you can offer them.

…but just because someone, somewhere on YouTube or wherever says it’s alright to do a particular exercise with a pregnant client

…doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for all clients in a group exercise situation.

What do you think?

I’d like to hear from you.

Have YOU ever taught a challenging exercise to your prenatal clients in class, only for them to execute it really badly?

Are there movements you avoid in your group sessions through fear of clients not really understanding ‘why’ you’re doing it?

Have you tried out a new pelvic floor exercise, but found your clients didn’t ‘get it’?

Drop me a line to get in touch.

 

How are your diastasis recti rehab skills at the moment?

Feel a bit out of your depth in this department?

Well fear not!

I’ll show you how to fix your postnatal clients’ abdominal separation using a 7 step method that’s been tried and tested on my own new mummy clients.

Diastasis Detective opens again in 2018.

diastasis banner logo

Sign up NOW to the VIP priority list, and be one of the first instructors notified when the program goes LIVE!

And, if you have a question – get in touch.

 

Postnatal-34-300x225When I did my Level 3 Pre/Postnatal certificate (like a hundred years ago!) there really wasn’t a lot of emphasis on the practical element.

Yes, there were exercises demonstrated and listed in the manual etc – sure.

I can remember spending hours putting a lesson plan together that ‘ticked all the boxes’ so to speak to pass the assessment, but when it came to the real wide world of teaching pre/postnatal – I really didn’t have a lot to go on.

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll have noticed that there’s been a shift towards ‘functional’ training over the past few years. Nothing new there.

So today I’m going to give you the tools to enable you to freshen up your standing exercises safely and effectively for your pre/postnatal clients.

Read More

Prenatal-92If you’re a regular reader of my ramblings, you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of interval training for my pre and postnatal clients.

Interval training provides several benefits including:

  • Time-saving – for you and your clients
  • Fat-burning – great for new mums
  • Full-body workout – who doesn’t want that?

Interval training tends to lend itself to high intensity, and I can’t say I’m all over that for pre/postnatal, but with a few modifications – it’s brilliant.

I refer to HIIT as MIIT – which stands for Mummy-Intensity Interval Training.

Pretty cool, eh?

Here are my top tips for making MIIT with your mums-to-be and new mums successful:

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I’m all about squats during pregnancy.Pregnant woman relaxing while holding water bottle.

The squat is one of the first exercises I get a new mum to do, post-birth.

It’s only fair that I request that you spend time perfecting their perfect squat.

Are you ready?

Ok, so start off in this stance:

  • Feet hip-distance apart (I do allow a slightly wider stance if a client’s in their third trimester)
  • Pelvis in neutral (which is ASIS and pubic bone level at the front, by the way)
  • Shoulders relaxed and ribcage down against the pelvis,

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I love circuits for pre/postnatal clients.Postnatal-34-300x225

Not only do they give your class participants a good workout, but…

They give your tired aching ankles, knees and feet a bit of a rest too, don’t they?

Tee hee.

You do need to have a minimum number of clients attending your sessions to make it worthwhile running a circuit, but 8-12 is a good figure to start off with.

Here are 5 reasons WHY you should be running a pre/postnatal circuit class for your attendees:

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Prenatal-114I’m here with some standing core-based exercise ideas for your pregnancy classes.

Sometimes you just get stale teaching floor-based core work, huh?

Hands and knees positions are fine during pregnancy, but you know that I know that you know, that you should also include core exercises in a more upright position too.

All you’ll need is a wall space for these exercises.

I’m pretty sure most halls, sports centres and gyms have those, don’t they?!

Tee hee.

Ok, so without further ado, here are my:

Top 5 Upright Core-Based Exercises for Pregnant Clients

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